Birmingham Tory Questions Climate Change

Just days ahead of Copenhagen, the Conservative PPC for Birmingham Ladywood has questioned the science behind the man-made climate change argument.

As the City Council was passing the "Birmingham Declaration on Climate Change", Cllr Colin Hughes went on a libertarian rant accusing his Council colleagues of using climate change as an excuse to boss people around.

Whilst I agree complex government "just for the sake of it" is unnecessary, solving issues such as climate change requires cross-party support and strong leadership at all levels of Government. This is exactly what Birmingham has done - something which should be celebrated, not belittled.

According to Adrian Goldberg's Stirrer website, Hughes said:

“Climate change devotees still rely on these models, despite the fact that we know these models to be wrong, for end-of-the-world predictions to justify their proposed actions.

“What this means is that we should be very careful before spending huge amounts of the public’s money on schemes that may not be necessary.

“The research needs to go on because there is huge gaps in our knowledge and understanding but while the science is lacking there are authoritarians on all sides of this chamber who can’t help but to use this issue to boss people around and to tell others how to run their lives.

“They’ve jumped on this bandwagon and use it to excuse any and all government interference into private lives. We are elected by the people of Birmingham and we owe them better leadership than that.”


Birmingham Declaration On Climate Change

Ladywood ward - city centre housingBirmingham Liberal Democrats took a bold step this week proposing the “Birmingham Declaration On Climate Change”, which was adopted at Tuesday's full Council meeting.

Proposed by group leader Cllr Paul Tilsley and seconded by Ladywood’s Parliamentary Candidate Cllr Ayoub Khan, the Declaration shows Birmingham’s desire to lead the way out of this dual economic and environmental crisis we find ourselves in.

The Declaration will mean the country’s biggest local authority will use its purchasing power to stimulate the city’s green economy, creating new jobs whilst reducing energy bills for the residents.

I am delighted to see a commitment to connect 10% of homes to district heating systems, something which is already happening in Ladywood. There’s also a commitment to create a further ten eco-communities based on the successful Summerfield model.

In addition to this, the declaration states that by 2015 all Council vehicles should be electric or LPG, an electric car charging infrastructure will be developed, 50% of the Council's energy use will be from renewable sources, the Council's energy consumption will be cut by 25% and 10% of homes will have retrofit insulation.


Oxjam Brum – This Saturday!

oxjam-bullThis Saturday finally sees the showpiece event of the Oxjam Brum festival, as six of Birmingham's premier gig venues turn blue to help fight poverty!

I'm proud to have been involved with this year's Oxjam as the Community Participation Coordinator, responsible for involving as many volunteers in the project as possible - through encouraging them to host their own Oxjam events to volunteering on Saturday.

The "blue faces" campaign (demand action on climate change until you're blue in the face) has been a huge success all through the year - and we're hoping to paint over 200 faces this Saturday! We'll also be promoting The Wave which takes place on 5th December, just before the crucial global climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The big names playing include Dinosaur Pile-Up and Tantrums, with a whole bunch of local artists performing alongside them, across the Flapper, Island Bar, Victoria, Basement, Sunflower Lounge and the Prince of Wales.

Tickets are still available online until Friday night and cost JUST £6! A ticket to see just ONE of these acts could cost more than that. It's an absolute steal, so be sure to get yours now! On the day you'll need to head to Basement Bar (next to Greggs at the Victoria Square end of New Street) to exchange your tickets for wristbands. You can also buy wristbands on the day.

See you there!



Response from Clare Short to My 1010 Letter

The letter to Clare is here.

The response:

Dear David Nikel

Thank you for your email. There is not a debate on the 10:10 campaign as such, but a general debate in time allocated to the Liberal Democrats on "Government's failure of leadership in the Climate Crisis".

I do strongly support all initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Clare Short


1010 Motion: Letter to my MP

Dear Clare Short MP,

I am writing to urge you to support the Liberal Democrat opposition day motion this Wednesday to ensure all government departments achieve 10% emission reductions by the end of 2010.

The latest IPCC Assessment Report (2007) predicts huge changes in the world's climate over the coming decades if atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions are not stabilised. Without adaptation, the world's poorest will be hit by a lethal combination of reduced agricultural output, increased risk of extreme weather conditions and increased exposure to disease.

We need action on climate change today. The more time we spend debating different solutions, the more effort we will need in the future to bring stable atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

We have in our hands the power to prevent harmful climate change. By taking small, simple measures, every individual and every organisation in the UK can achieve a 10% emission reduction by 2010 - a spring board to the larger cuts necessary in the future.

Here in Birmingham Ladywood, big changes can be made by investing in modern public transport infrastructure and CHP (combined heat and power) technology for industrial and public sector buildings.

By supporting the 10:10 campaign on Wednesday you will show that the UK can lead the world on the most greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. I urge you not to sit on your hands on this issue. Please stand up and support the Liberal Democrat motion on climate change.

David Nikel


Ed Miliband Interviewed by Ladywood Kids

Climate Change minister Ed Miliband was in Ladywood recently to visit the Summerfield Eco-Village project. Local news project TNT News were on hand to interview him. Click here to view the video.

What's interesting for me is how uncomfortable he seems when being questioned by the children (should he look at the camera or the kids!?) but also the following comments on the TNT website:

It was interesting for us to see the minister’s public relations team. I think there were at least four of them and they all seemed scared stiff at the thought of us interviewing him, perhaps incase we asked awkward questions! They wanted us to go into a separate room and wait for him to finish his tour before allowing us to interview him.


Oxjam Conference Birmingham

I’ve been installed as Community Participation Coordinator for the Oxjam festival in Birmingham, which takes place during October this year. Last weekend I attended the 2009 Oxjam conference here in Birmingham city centre. The conference was a great opportunity to remind ourselves of all the great work Oxfam does, talk about the Oxjam concept, learn from previous years and network with teams from other towns and cities. The event took place in Digbeth's Centre for Voluntary Action - a great venue.

Of particular note was a talk from John O’Sullivan who has a proud career in event management and latterly artist management. One delegate said John’s one-hour talk was more useful than his three-year event management degree! Oxjam chief Benny Littlejohn spoke about his experience of seeing Oxfam’s work in Sierra Leone. Most useful was the role specific training where I got to meet and share ideas with other Community Participation Coordinators from places such as Leeds, London, Manchester, Blackburn and Glasgow.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who would like to put on a fundraising event, concert, gig, comedy night, karaoke party, anything, here in Birmingham. Lots of support from the central team will be available, as well as a warm fuzzy feeling!

Equally, anyone who interested in volunteering to help with fundraising, campaigning, publicity or marshalling is very welcome to get in touch. Finally, if any community groups are interested in hosting a talk to find out more about Oxfam’s work, particularly in the field of climate change, please let me know.

I say campaigning because this year’s Oxjam is raising awareness for their Here and Now campaign, which highlights the human face of climate change. I’ll write more about this and the plans for Birmingham in future weeks, but for now, check out this video which aired at this year’s Glastonbury: